Porsche, which is part of the gigantic Volkswagen Group (also owns: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Škoda and of course Volkswagen itself), is throwing its hat into the electric car ring. Or at least, they say that they will "within the next 5 years."
At the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany, they unveiled a new concept called the Mission E. As you can see in the image above, it is quite distinctly a Porsche, but some of the design language is also new for this model. What's most interesting to me is that Porsche - who's vehicles have had the same overall design language for decades - isn't shy about using that iconic look for an electric vehicle. I think it's important if electric cars are to become truly mainstream; you have to get the feeling that this is a good car that happens to be electric, not just something that screams "hey, I'm strange and different from anything else that you might be familiar with". Some people are attracted to that, but not everyone. That was one of my complaints with the BMW i3 (which is available in a variety of electric and plug-in hybrid drivetrains): It has some design cues from the BMW line, but it feels like a separate thing that doesn't even try to convince BMW customers that they should get this instead of their 3 Series...
It seats 4 and packs 440 kW of total system power, which translates to almost 600 hp. Not that it matters that much when you've got that much power, but for comparison, the new Tesla P90D rates at 691 hp.
Porsche claims "more than 500 kilometers" of driving range, which in miles is about 310. That's impressive, though remember that this is probably with the European testing methodology, which is different from the EPA numbers in the US.
The Mission E features all-wheel drive - with torque automatically being distributed to the 4 wheels depending on the driving conditions - and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. This isn't quite Tesla's 'ludicrous' mode, but for all intents and purposes, this is supercar territory and it doesn't really matter.
One thing that is interesting on the electric Porsche is the charging technology. The company claims that an 80% charge can be achieved in 15 minutes thanks to an 800-volt charger. It's nice to see that efforts are being made on fast-charging, and hopefully Porsche's system works well and is safe enough to maybe one day become a standard across all VW Group plug-in vehicles or maybe even become an industry standard if the industry doesn't figure out a way to standardize on Tesla's Supercharger technology (which they might want to keep proprietary anyway).
The Mission E can also be connected to standard 400-volt chargers, so it is not locked in the 800-volt system (which might be rare at first).
Porsche has also built-in inductive charging, so with a special coil in your garage floor, you could park the Mission E and not even have to plug it in for an overnight charge. That method might be slower than wired charging, but if it's overnight, it might not matter too much.
The battery is located in the floor, as you can see above. The body of the Mission E is made up of a mix of aluminium, steel and carbon fibre reinforced polymer.
Here's a video showing the Mission E from a variety of angles:
What I'm hoping is that this means that the VW Group as a whole is getting more interested in electric cars, and that soon we'll see a variety of more affordable VW models...